The Capitals came back home after picking up four points in their past two games to square off against a Sabres squad that has been resting since Tuesday night. Washington did everything right early but a stellar performance from Jhonas Enroth kept the Verizon Center quiet and the home team's shooters largely silent.
Nine more notes on the game:
- Both teams entered tonight's game on two game win streaks but it was Washington who would control play during the opening twenty minutes. They outshot (+6), out hit (+4), and won the majority of faceoffs (9/13) in the first period, ending it with an offensive flurry around Enroth's crease. Unfortunately it was just the beginning of Enroth's act.
- Michael Latta and Marcus Foligno were the only names on the scoresheet in the first when the forwards dropped their gloves and went toe to toe at center ice. Both players knocked their knuckles against each others helmets before happily jumping in the box to serve their five.
- Buffalo bounced back in the second period and began putting pressure against the Capitals in their defensive zone after their sluggish start. Ted Nolan's group got their legs moving and despite getting outshot for the second straight frame the Sabres would end up denting the twine first.
- Matt Moulson opened the scoring fifteen seconds past the game's midpoint, taking a Tyler Ennis rebound from the end boards and flicking a backhanded shot past John Carlson and a diving Braden Holtby. Both Carlson and Holtby did their best to get a stick on the soft shot but it bounced its way through both and onto the scoresheet.
- Washington put up a season high twenty shots on net (in a single period) in the second. On the other hand, the Sabres only shot ten, but were rewarded for their efforts. If it weren't for the Sabres' goaltending tonight the final score would've been much different.
- Mike Green would leave the game after the second period after taking two big hits, including a dandy at center ice from Rasmus Ristolainen in the first. Green looked shaked up immediately after both hits but ended up skating until the end of the second period. He would not, however, skate another shift after forty minutes of play.
- Washington would tie the game less than six minutes into the third, the big goal coming off of Matt Niskanen's stick on the power play (his first of the year and first in a Washington sweater). Good puck movement from Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson led to the tally and got Verizon Center back into the contest, but only for a moment.
- Torrey Mitchell would put the Sabres back in the lead less than seven minutes after Niskanen tied the game, burying a rebound from just outside of the crease off of Holtby's right leg pad. Neither Karl Alzner nor Carlson could get to the puck before Mitchell and he pushed home a gimme for the GWG.
- Enroth's 43 saves stole the show tonight as he kept Buffalo in it both early and late. Washington pressed as much as they could in the game's final eight minutes (Backstrom's Tripping penalty aside) but the Swedish netminder kept the Capitals' best chances away. Easily the first star of tonight's game.
The Capitals deserved something from tonight's effort but were ultimately denied by the opposition's masked man. On most nights a shot differential of eighteen in your favor will yield two points but Washington wasn't able to get the goal they needed late. They regroup tomorrow in preparation of their upcoming tilt against the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.